Russia has been making the headlines of international media for a while now. But none of that had to do with a strong economy or a powerful army because Russia simply doesn't have either. Instead, it has learned to interfere through other means in the politics, media, elections and national security of other countries. [...] The new methods of Russian influence are well-known, but it seems that Western countries have turned out to be unprepared for them.
What appears to be a nightly newscast is about to begin, only with a very Ukrainian twist: Everything is a lie, from start to finish. “Welcome to ‘StopFake,’ the place where we set the record straight on fakes about Ukraine,” the anchor, Margo Gontar, intones. In other parts of the world, viewers might suspect the evening news is just a bunch of lies, but watching the weekly broadcast of “StopFake News,” they can be certain of it.
The good news, however, is that propaganda is back. I don’t mean the unfragrant mob of internet miscreants — hacking is to propaganda what stalking is to romance. I mean the impulse to choose a side and press its case with wily elegance. Those of us who grew up in the Cold War have rather missed it — the persistent, well-designed, all-encompassing salesmanship of Life’s Correct Path, backed up with textbooks, posters and unspeakable stockpiles of nuclear weapons.
You can fight a visible enemy with guns and bombs. But how do you face the fury of online radicalisation and recruitment of youngsters who are misled with misquoted verses and other sacred statements. By quoting the right verses with their proper contexts and interpretations, of course. This is exactly what the famous Mahim Dargah, in collaboration with Goregaon-based Madrassa Darul Uloom Faizan-e-Raza, is doing. They are fighting the terrorist outfit Daesh or Islamic State (IS) through social networks and helping stop youths from getting swayed by extremist propaganda.
Back in November 2014, Michael Weiss and Peter Pomerantsev published an insightful report called “The Menace of Unreality: How the Kremlin Weaponizes Information, Culture and Money.” The main argument was that ‘truth’ no longer matters and the key objective is to deliberately distort the truth and sow confusion. The report earned immediate attention in Brussels—including in NATO circles.
How the "post-truth" trend of misinformation is affecting NATO, and how the organization can fight back.